Friday, April 21, 2017

Hamilton Lottery vs. Hamilton Cancellation Line

Ashley and I have been fortunate to be able to see Hamilton on Broadway twice. The first was a total lark -- Don entered the Hamilton lottery and won (on his first try). The second time also felt like a lark -- I stood on the cancellation line for "only" 7 1/2 hours, from what I have since read, I should have had to wait twice that long.

The first big difference is timing. I've heard 10,000 people a day put in for the lottery. They draw the winners a few hours early. You have one hour to pay. Then you pick them up just before the show. With the cancellation line you stand around all day and wonder if it will happen. Someone behind me called ours the "Believe in Magic" line.

The next big difference is price. The lottery is $10. The cancellation line was $229, though I heard they often have standing room only tickets in the way back for $40.

The third big difference is seating. The lottery seats in the front row (they added the second row to give more people a chance). The cancellation line is anywhere, though from what I read on the boards, many end up where we did (center orchestra).

April 2016 - front row

April 2017 - 10th row

How did the two performances compare? 

When you sit in the very front row you can only focus on a small part of the stage, pretty much whatever is happening right in front of you. Back ten rows and I gained a huge appreciation for the ensemble/swing actors and their intense choreography.

In the front row I could see Eliza cry. I could see that Angelica was wearing a wig. I missed those details from Row J. 

As for the performers, the first time we saw it we saw most of the original cast. They were as magical as the '69 Mets (not that I ever saw them play). They had incredible chemistry -- which the Tonys recognized since they received 16 record breaking Tony nominations, and 11 awards (one shy of the record). It will be nearly impossible to beat that, even though the night we went we saw understudies for Alexander Hamilton (Javier Munoz who went on to become the regular Hamilton after Lin-Manuel Mirandez moved on to new projects) and Aaron Burr (Austin Smith, who was so amazing I didn't believe Ashley when she said he was also an understudy). We did see the original Schuyler sisters, Lafayette/Jefferson, Washington, and others. 

This time Ashley was very impressed by Donald Webber as Hamilton, who wsa understudying for Javier Munoz, who we saw the first time. She said as she is taking acting this semester she is becoming more critical when she sees shows, so that is a high compliment. The chemistry just wasn't the same between him and Lexi Lawson, who plays his wife Eliza Hamilton. 

Ashley, who follows this far more than I do, was thrilled Lexi Lawson and Mandy Gonzalez (playing Angelica Schuyler) were both performing that night. She had high expectations about their performances and was not disappointed.

Some of the choreography seemed different. People were not as close to each other as I remembered, or the different angle messed with my memories.

April 2014 after seeing Aladdin
I'm still warming up to James Monroe Inglehart as Jefferson. I loved him as the Genie in Aladdin, but he played Jefferson (and Lafayette) so differently from Daveed Diggs (who won the Tony). He is an awesome person in real life. My nephew, Hayden, saw him on the street once and he stopped to chat with him for 20 minutes. Then after Hayden saw him in Aladdin he parted the seas to make sure he and Hayden got a great picture together. He always comes out to sign autographs -- even after we were told no one else was coming out after the 2 pm show (because there was a meet and greet with students), he came out afterwards and talked to the HamFans. He definitely puts his own twist on the roles and is a fan favorite. After the show he auctioned off his creating and recording a ring tone for one lucky member of the audience. The woman across the aisle from us won it for $2,000. That's when Ashley realized we were truly in the expensive seats.

It was great being able to see the entire stage. Our seats were elevated enough that our vision was not blocked, which is a plus. I did want to tell the woman behind us that if her daughter is too young to know the plot of the American Revolution and keeps asking questions during the show, then her daughter (who was also kicking the back of my seat until I put a stop to that with my librarian glare) is too young to see this particular show. Go across the street to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" instead.

We seriously do not intend to turn into one of those people who say "I've seen Hamilton 13 times" while the person you are talking to has not seen it once and has tried for the lottery daily, but we are glad we saw it a second time. Maybe someday Don will see it, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment